WAYNE – Again it is now up in the air for regular season games to be played following the NCAA Division II Presidents Council announcement cancelling the fall sports championships.
Student-athletes competing on the Wayne State College women’s soccer team this season already saw a cut in games from 15 to 11 contests.
As the incoming women’s soccer freshmen are set to move their belongings onto campus this weekend, head women’s soccer coach Joe Cleary said they haven’t had a lot of players in town doing extra work but the volunteer workouts have helped all-conference returning center back senior Megan Schuster.
“She had a hip labrum surgery performed in the off-season so she’s been doing recovery,” said Cleary. “So, for her to be able to work with the coaching staff to do soccer specific recovery has been really nice. Obviously, to be able to use our strength and conditioning coach Grant Darnell and our athletic training facilities has been really nice for her too.”
Over the past two weeks, the women’s soccer team has increased their voluntary workouts.
Coach Cleary will be entering his fourth season as the head coach and sixth overall season with the program. He added Wednesday’s announcement sent a ripple-effect through all of athletics.
“Most of us were planning on practicing here pretty soon,” Cleary added. “Now we have to try and reconfigure and wait to see what the conference does and wait to see what the school does. Just a lot of uncertainty and I think that can be stressful a lot for especially younger student-athletes and everything especially the new kids coming to our school.”
The first permissible practice for the WSC women’s soccer team was slated for Tuesday, September 8 but again that could change following Thursday’s meeting. The Wildcat women’s soccer team is scheduled to open their season with a pair of home outings on Friday, October 2 against Minnesota Crookston at 3 p.m. and entertain Bemidji State on Sunday, October 4 at 1 p.m.
Coach Cleary mentioned the job of the coaching staff will be to manage workload and make sure the team is kept in game shape as their off-season workouts didn’t change much.
“Every summer they get a workout packet that they can do on their own,” Cleary mentioned. “That has everything from strength, to conditioning, to nutrition, to sleep stuff and hydration stuff and this year it had COVID stuff in it.”
With the coaching staff not able to get out and recruit this summer, the first on-campus for a 2021 player was recently in town last weekend. A lot of the recruiting has been done virtually or coach Cleary has given Facetime tours on campus.
Social media was the place to be where coaches and student-athletes are looking to stay positive. Coach Cleary said at the end of the day student-athletes are coming to Wayne State College for school.
“These girls are coming here because they want to go to school here, they like the community, they like the school,” said Cleary. “So, that part doesn’t change and we’re going to just try and do our best to navigate that and give them their best experience possible.”
WSC dropped a first round NSIC Tournament outing to Concordia-St. Paul to end their season at 6-9-4 overall last year. The ‘Cats closed out their regular season conference record of 6-7-2 earning the #8 seed. It marked the first time since 2006 that the women’s soccer program reached the NSIC Tournament.
The Wayne State College women’s soccer team ID camp is set for Saturday, August 15. The camp is open for high school students as there are 35 players signed up from seven different states.